tv Farming in the San Joaquin Valley CSPAN February 5, 2017 12:52am-1:01am EST
produced. we try to tell the story that it doesn't come from the minimart, it starts on the farm or ranch. it starts with cows and milk and beef and swine and chicken and explain to them what the process is. i have had the unique opportunity because of being a past president to travel throughout the united states and look at a lot of agricultural builders. none of them comes close to our ag building. when you have a fair that sits in the middle of the number one ag producing county in the world and the breadbasket of the world, the ag building better be good. communities come in and compete against each other to try and make sure that that ag building's number one. it better be good here because that is a reflection upon us. >> california, a lot of people probably don't think about agriculture. you really probably forget about this area. people have heard of fresno. they don't know what we do and what we contribute.
california produces over 50% of the fruits and vegetables ending up on plate around the country. the san joaquin valley is the real heart of california. it is that big green area you will see in a map of california. it is approximately 100 miles wide and it runs from sacramento to just past bakersfield, about 250, 300 miles. we have a mediterranean climate that is only found in five regions throughout the world and we are the only one found in the united states. that essentially means we get here. we have a nice, long, dry growing season and it gets here late enough in the wintertime to allow these crops to go into a dormancy state. secondly we have incredible soils in this region. they can grow just about anything in the world. we also have water. it is so essential.
it is the lifeblood of the crops we have around it. we are fortunate to have a snowpack that feeds this area during the summer months. and then lastly, it is people. people have immigrated to this area in the last 150 years and really come together to make this region unique. the history of agriculture here reallysan joaquin valley revolves around wheat of all crops. wheat is a crop that you will not see much of today. but the real next major step was during the mid to late 1800s, specifically with mr. kearney, who came over here and really developed these plots of land into specifically the thompson grape, grown for raisin purposes
exploded in the area. they have large tracts of land. developed specifically for immigrants coming over here to start their own farm operation and to develop it and be able to turn it into a viable operation, and grapes were the backbone of those operations. really, he was one of the many forefathers we had here at this industry. what we see here today are individuals like mr. kearney that were so instrumental in his developed. one thing we talk about, the biggest thing that comes to mind is diversity. it's diversity of people, but diversity of crops. this one single county bike -- by itself has over 400 different crops and commodities. our number one crop is almonds. our number two crop is grapes. on the western side of the county, that is where we have a lot of different veggie crops. everything from tomatoes to garlic. as you start to move toward the center part of the county, that is where you very much get
intensely into more of the permanent crops, the trees. just around me, we are surrounded by vineyards, wine grape vineyards, and also we have french prunes that a lot of folks desire from all over the world. we have heavily deciduous tree fruit crops, cherries, peaches, plums, nectarines grow very heavily. and then in the east of the county is our citrus belt. that citrus belt has everything from those naples -- navels everyone desires, and particularly popular, those easy to peel mandarin citrus crops that have really gained popularity here recently. some of the biggest issues that affect agriculture number one, , water -- the irrigation infrastructure we have here
--ally is really the end the envy of the world. we have individuals that come from all over the world to see what we have built your. our network of reservoirs and systems have really done an incredible job of allowing us to do what we do so well as far as agriculture. the infrastructure that was built here was actually an incredible collaboration between local, state, and federal government. specifically when we talk about the federal side, the federal projects are a significant part of the water infrastructure we have here, but from the reservoirs as well as some of the major conveyance systems were built by the federal government going back to the late 1940's. when it comes to the local network of canals, everything else we have here, local governments were very much a participant in that, as well as working with the federal government when it came to building those bigger, massive construction projects. local governments were very much part of that. and local funding contributed
toward those larger objects, to make sure we got the water storage we so desperately needed back then. secondarily, another big issue on the federal side was labor and immigration. so many other crops you see around here are very labor intensive. so much of what we do here is not mechanized. it takes a human hand to pull the peach, plum, nectar rain from the tree. those are things that have to be done by human hands area it is a labor force that is incredibly important to us. the fact of the matter is it is a labor force that has become increasingly difficult for california agriculture to secure on a regular basis. we are part of discussions when it comes to immigration reform in how do we get individuals into this country to work with us? >> this weekend, we are
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